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2020 Foresight: New threats make crises inevitable

Blog post   •   Nov 11, 2019 07:35 +08

Seriously now, how many companies understand the new risks they face, much less how to communicate when crisis strikes? In the 2020s, all companies will be at risk, not just oil and gas, transport, food and pharmaceuticals. Companies which are not naturally exposed have a massive blind spot to these.

The top threats are privacy and cyberattacks, as many countries have enacted onerous privacy obligations, including the EU, Singapore and Malaysia, and because most companies have some sort of online presence which opens them to hackers. We can’t on the one hand gush about the rise of big data (or megadata, as we like to call it) without understanding the existential risk that a data breach would bring.

Similarly, we could add sabotage by drones and disruption to product and service delivery due to climate change to the crises of the future (can you think of any others?). These are already happening. So what would make anyone think their companies will be immune?

Understanding these risks and coming to grips with how to deal with them on an operational basis should be captured in a risk management plan. Once you have that can you implement a crisis management plan, which in turn incorporates a crisis communications plan.

Research by Oxford University shows companies which get this right have a substantially greater chance of seeing their fortunes recover a month after the crisis, while those that don’t never fully recover.

You can start thinking about this today. Walk through the lifecycle of your product or service, and through the customer lifecycle as they purchase, use and possibly dispose of these. At every step note down the environmental, social and governance risk. Think of worst-case scenarios for crises. Then consider how you would communicate to various stakeholders at the same time as you grapple with the crisis? You will soon realise you will need to give this much more thought.

Do you have 2020 Foresight?

The 2020s. If you’re like me, you would have considered this decade to be too far off to contemplate. Long-term government planning reports talked about the 2020s. Authors set their science fiction novels in the 2020s. The 2020s were a mirage.

Yet here we are, just weeks away before we catch up with the future.

In this series I look at five key trends likely to shape the new decade:

  1. Climate change and the switch to live video and webcasts – But will anyone pay attention
  2. How to be the best human you can be in an AI world – You can't be anyone you want to be, but you can be the best of who you already are
  3. Can you prove your CEO didn’t say this? – Deep fakes, guerrilla media, and the blurred lines between fake and real
  4. The rise of Megadata – If you thought death by PowerPoint was bad now, just wait until you drink from the data hosepipe
  5. New threats make crises inevitable – Drones, cyberattacks, climate change all make for the crises of the future

Talk to us about how to invest your remaining 2019 training budgets with 2020 foresight.

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